Welcoming #psu2019

The months of March and April are some of the most exciting for us here in Undergraduate Admissions as we hear from students who are accepting their offers of admission. We are holding accepted student programs at all of our campuses and at locations around the U.S., and talking with thousands of families as they weigh their options leading up to the May 1 national acceptance deadline.

Along the way, we have seen some great photos from students who will be joining Penn State’s Class of 2019.  Are you as excited as these students about becoming a Penn Stater? Share your photos with us using the hashtag #psu2019!

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Penn State in Hong Kong

While some Penn Staters spent spring  break on the beach or relaxing at home, a group of students from the College of Communications traveled to Hong Kong as part of an international reporting class.

While there, they met with college students and faculty, and tackled issues like public

Penn State journalism student John Stuetz working on a story about the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, where voter rights are being eroded by the mainland Chinese government.

Penn State journalism student John Stuetz working on a story about the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, where voter rights are being eroded by the mainland Chinese government.

housing and senior citizen suicides. This is a great example of ways that Penn State students are able to learn outside of the classroom and apply what they learn in real-world settings.

Visit the ComMedia blog for a full report from Hong Kong.

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All About New Student Orientation

As we get closer to May 1, more and more students are accepting their offers of admission and beginning the New Student Orientation process. Here’s what you can expect from NSO:

  1. When you accept your offer of admission, the NSO office will send you an email with more information about completing your Educational Planning Survey and ALEKS Math Assessment. Though it might seem scary to take a test before you even begin college, please know that your results will have no impact on your academic record as a student. Instead, we use the results of the math assessment to help you schedule the best courses for your first semester. It is very important that you complete these two things before you come so you can truly benefit from speaking to your adviser while at NSO.
  2. Once the planning survey and math assessment are complete, you receive a nso_blackpostcard outlining your next steps in the process. If you are a University Park student, your postcard will indicate your assigned NSO date. If you are starting at another campus, your postcard will have instructions on how to register for NSO at your campus. Note that the registration process may vary slightly from campus to campus.

Okay! You’ve completed all of those things, now what? Well, now you come to campus!

New Student Orientation is a two-day experience at University Park, and one day at the other locations. Since the program can be different at each campus, I won’t go into too much detail, but the general things you can expect are:

  • Meeting a lot of really cool people and starting to build your network of friends at Penn State
  • Talking to an academic adviser about your career plans
  • Taking care of basic things like getting your ID card and learning where to ask for what
  • Getting a glimpse of what your life will be like
  • Learning about Penn State and your campus

The New Student Orientation office is also planning special programs for transfer students and adult learner/veteran students this summer. These one-day programs are specific to the needs of these groups and designed to help facilitate the transition into Penn State. Please visit the NSO website for more information.

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Applying for Financial Aid

With admission decisions on the streets for summer and fall 2015, now is a great time to think about financial aid. Our colleagues in the Office of Student Aid took the time to put together some helpful hints for navigating what can be a complex process:

To apply for most financial aid at Penn State, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the only application you need to submit. For maximum consideration of financial aid, the Office of Student Aid recommends that you submit your FAFSA by March 1, 2015, if you are a new student to Penn State.

May 1 is the deadline for Pennsylvania residents who are interested in applying for the Pennsylvania State Grant. If you are a resident of a state other than Pennsylvania, please verify if you are eligible for a state grant and what your deadline is with your own state grant agency.

Some private scholarships and Penn State scholarships require separate applications. You can visit the scholarships section of our website for information about those programs.

Submitting the FAFSA

We HIGHLY recommend that you and/or your parents use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to view and securely transfer your federal tax information directly from the IRS to your FAFSA to save time and increase the accuracy of the FAFSA.

Your federal tax information will be available for transfer within three weeks if you file your federal tax returns electronically and within eight weeks if you file your paper returns via U.S. mail.

You should not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you and/or your parents did any one of the following:

  • Filed an amended 2014 federal tax return (1040X)
  • Did not file a 2014 federal tax return
  • Are married but filed separately
  • Are separated from your spouse but filed jointly
  • Filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return

If you submit your FAFSA prior to filing your federal tax return, you may use estimated tax information or manually enter your tax information. However, once you have filed your taxes, we recommend you update your FAFSA either by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or actual final tax figures.

If Penn State receives your FAFSA by March 1, 2015, you will receive an email notification in late March. The email will provide instructions on how to view your Student Aid Summary online.

Requirements and Verification

To complete the FAFSA, you and/or your parents will need to:

  • Enter your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card (include suffixes and your middle name/initial)
  • Enter your Social Security number
  • Provide your parent(s) name and social security number exactly as it appears on their Social Security card (including suffixes and middle name/initial).
  • Provide your valid driver’s license number (if you have one)
  • Enter your date of birth
  • Provide your alien registration number, for eligible non-citizens
  • Mark your individual status information (marital status, veteran, etc.)
  • Supply 2014 federal tax information, including adjusted gross income, earnings from work, income tax paid, etc.
  • Insert Penn State’s federal school code: 003329

We may be required to contact you to request documentation or have you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to verify your FAFSA information. Please respond quickly to any and all requests by the Office of Student Aid to ensure timely disbursement of your student aid.

We know this is new territory for many families and look forward to helping you as you determine how to invest in a Penn State education.

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Intern Post: THON 101

Penn State’s Dance Marathon, better known as THON, is just a few days away! This weekend, thousands of students will fill the Bryce Jordan Center to spend 46 hours on their feet in support of pediatric cancer research through the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey. THON weekend is the culmination of a year of fundraising that last year resulted in more than $13 million being raised, making the event the world’s largest student-run philanthropy.

Why would anyone want to spend 46 hours on their feet? How do they raise all that money? Social media intern Sophia breaks down the basics of THON on the Penn State Lion Life blog:

As Penn State students, we pride ourselves in a few things: our football team, our school spirit, having stellar academics and THON. For those who don’t know, THON is the largest student run philanthropy in the world that raises millions of dollars for kids with pediatric cancer every year and as of today, is only 10 days away! Intrigued to learn more? Then keep reading for a guide on how Penn State has, and continues, to change the lives of hundreds of kids.

The view from the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend.

The view from the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend.

 

What: The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or more popularly known as THON, is a yearlong effort to raise funds for families that have been affected by pediatric cancer.

Why: THON was originally started by a group of students in 1973 that proposed the idea of a dance marathon to raise money for a needy cause. That year, 78 dancers danced for 30 hours and raised $2,000. Since then, THON has evolved into the longest dance marathon in the country, engages 15,000 students each year and has raised more than $101 million in hopes of conquering pediatric cancer.

The Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend.

The Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend.

When: After a year of raising money, Penn State students gather in the Bryce Jordan Center for one weekend in February to dance for 46 and to cap off the fundraising year. Yes, 46 hours straight. THON weekend begins at 6 p.m. Friday night and ends at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

How: To truly appreciate the life-changing experience of THON, it is best to understand the basics of how this extensive event is put on.

  • The Volunteers: Each year, 15,000 students volunteer to be the heart and soul of THON.
    • Executive Director: Just like the title sounds, the executive director is THON’s fearless leader who oversees the 15 committees and chooses the executive committee.
    • Executive Committee: For each of the 15 committees, there is one chairperson who chooses the Captains and reports back to the Executive Director.
    • Captains: Chosen by the Executive Committee, captains are in charge of committee members and assisting in the planning of THON weekend.
    • Committees: Chosen and lead by the captains, committee members make up 3,400 of the volunteers. A committee member can be involved in 1 of the 15 committees which include: Communications, Donor and Alumni Relations, Entertainment, Family Relations, Finance, Hospitality, Merchandise, Dancer Relations, Rules and Regulations Event Safety, Rules and Regulations Volunteers Safety, Special Events, Supply Logistics, and Technology.

      The THON Hospitality Committee during THON weekend.

      The THON Hospitality Committee during THON weekend.

    • Organizations (Orgs): To be an org your organization must be recognized by Penn State in order to participate in THON. Orgs range from Greek life to Commonwealth campuses to almost any club. Orgs are a great way to get involved with THON!
    • The Fundraising: Fundraising for THON is a long and rewarding process. These are just a few common ways you can help the fundraising effort:
    • Canning Weekends: Formally known as canister solicitation weekends, occur
      Students posting for a picture during a THON canning weekend.

      Sophia (left) during a THON canning weekend.

      over 3 weekends during the fall semester. THON volunteers travel near and far to stand outside stores and on sidewalks with specially marked cans to raise money for the cure.

    • ThONvelopes: Sending THONvelopes is one of the easiest ways to raise money. Just like the name says, family and friends receive envelopes explaining the cause and can easily send them back with their donations.
    • Alternative Fundraising: If you have ever taken a stroll through the HUB and saw and organization selling an item and giving the profits to THON, you have seen an alternative fundraiser. It is any fundraiser that is not canning, corporate, mail, online or pledge solicitation. They can be as fun and creative as you want!

Of course, this is just the break down of the bare minimum of THON. For more information, to learn how to make a donation and to watch the 46-hour live stream during THON weekend visit http://thon.org/

 

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LEAP: Summer start at University Park

Registration for the LEAP program at University Park is just a week away. Our colleague Day wrote a great post on LEAP last year that we wanted to share with the Class of 2019 – Jenna, Undergraduate Admissions

Ahh, summer. It’s hard to remember what the sun feels like on our skin and the trees look like with leaves with views like this one all over campus.

As beautiful as our campus is in the winter, we are ready for summer to begin! And we’re not just excited about the warmer weather, we’re thrilled that we get to welcome the first students of our 2019 class.

If you have been offered admission to the summer semester at University Park, you have the exciting opportunity to take part in the LEAP program. LEAP is available only to first-year students at University Park, as a chance to begin their Penn State journey as part of a community. If you choose to participate in LEAP, this is what you can expect:

  • Small classes of up to 25 students
  • Two integrated courses for you to maximize your learning experience
  • Upper class student mentor to guide you from how to best take college-level notes to finding the best grocery store downtown
  • Training sessions for all available resources at Penn State (library, computers, etc.)
  • Fun living quarters – you’ll be in the same residence area as all other LEAP students, so be ready to make friends fast!

Sophomore Michelle Couture hosts a start up meeting for LEAP students outside Pollock Commons.

In addition to those benefits, you will also have the opportunity to become used to college life and get familiar with campus before the rest of the students arrive in the fall. This year, LEAP will begin on July 1, with a move-in date of June 28.

If you are interested in LEAP and want to find out how to proceed, check out their website: LEAP @ UP.

Registration for LEAP opens on Tuesday, February 17 at 5:00 p.m.

If you have an offer of admission to summer 2015 and no LEAP prides are available or if you choose not to participate in the LEAP program, you can register for regular summer session courses upon meeting with your academic adviser during New Student Orientation (NSO).

If you have an offer of admission to Fall 2014 and want to participate in LEAP, you can call the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 814-865-5471 or email admissions@psu.edu to change your starting semester to summer.

 

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Attend an accepted student program!

Now that the majority of our admission decisions have been released, it’s time to focus on the next steps on the path to becoming a Penn Stater.

We know this is an exciting time for students as they weigh their options among all of the

These students joined the Penn State family in August.

These students joined the Penn State family in August.

colleges they have been accepted to and figure out where they will be going in the fall. Penn State offers visit programs for accepted students at all of our campuses, and at a locations around the U.S.

Every session includes an information session and the opportunity to meet with admissions representatives. Programs held on campus include a campus tour, while those held off campus typically include the opportunity to meet with local Penn State alumni in your area.

Please visit our newly-redesigned website to learn more about these programs and register. We hope to see you this spring!

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What does my admissions decision mean?

The wait is over for many applicants as we send out decisions this week to students whose applications were complete by November 30. We dug back into the archives for this post on what your decision means:

Many of you have already seen you admissions decision in MyPennState; and for those still waiting, decisions are rolling out every day. To help you understand what some of the admissions decisions mean, here are the most common questions we receive from students about them:

I applied for fall at University Park, but I was offered admission for summer – what does this mean?
Penn State does not automatically review all applications for summer admission. When completing the online application, you can indicate if you would like to be reviewed for the summer session, in the event we are unable to offer you admission for the fall semester. If you indicate your interest in summer, we will address that, if necessary, during the review process.

So, if you apply for fall at University Park, we review your application for the fall semester first. If we are unable to offer admission for the fall, we then review the application for summer, which is slightly less competitive than the fall semester and gives students another chance to start at the University Park campus.

If you are accepted for summer, it is mandatory that you come to the University Park campus and take classes during summer session. You live on campus for the six-week semester and take two actual Penn State courses – they are not orientation courses or nonessential courses, but rather courses for your general education requirements or your intended degree. You then have a two-week break, after which you return to University Park and jump right into the fall semester (with 6-7 credits and a great familiarity with campus already!). Students starting in the summer may wish to consider taking part in LEAP, a summer experience specifically designed for new first-year students.

I received an offer of admission to my alternate campus – what does this mean?
When completing the application, we ask students to provide us with an alternate starting campus, so if we are unable to offer them admission to their first-choice campus, we can review their application for their alternate choice.

If you provided an alternate choice campus and were offered admission to that campus, it means that we were unable to offer you admission to your primary campus of interest, but that you can start your Penn State education at your alternate campus. Students can begin almost all of our 160+ programs at any Penn State campus, spending the first two years at that campus and then transitioning to another campus, typically University Park, to complete their degree. Over half of our students take advantage of this path, which we call the 2+2 plan, to earn their Penn State degree. Check the blog later this week for a post on the 2+2 plan.

My decision says that I am unable to have the campus I requested, but that you can consider me for admission to other Penn State campuses. What does that mean?
This decision means that we feel you can be successful at Penn State, but we don’t have enough information to continue reviewing your application for admission.

If you did not provide us with an alternate campus choice when completing the application, this is how we reach out to you for more options. This message means that we have reviewed your application and could not offer you admission for your primary campus choice, and without an alternate campus to consider, we could not take any further action with your application.

If you see this message and still want to be considered for Penn State, please call us at 814-865-5471 to discuss your options.

We hope this helps answer a few of your common questions regarding our decisions. But, if you need further information about your decision, please contact us. And if you are a student accepted to any of our 20 campuses, be sure to login to MyPennState to learn about your program, campus, and the Accepted Student Programs available to you!

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Schreyer Honors College application deadline

The deadline to apply to Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College is just around the corner on January 15. Schreyer is one of the best college honors programs in the country, and it’s open to students at all of Penn State’s campuses in nearly all of our majors.

Schreyer Honors College medals

Schreyer Scholars receive a medal at a special graduation ceremony held each spring at University Park.

Students in the program receive a $4,500 per year academic scholarship, access to smaller classes, and more. Schreyer Scholars also complete an undergraduate thesis, which can be a great stepping stone to graduate school.

If those benefits sound intriguing to you, the Schreyer application is available in MyPennState. There is a $30 application fee, and some additional essays and letters of recommendation are required.

Honors college applications are reviewed separately from the regular application for admission to Penn State, so you can still apply to Schreyer if you have already been admitted to Penn State or you are still waiting for a decision. Applying to Schreyer will not hold up your regular application.

Visit the Schreyer website for more information on the application process.

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We’re back!

Hello 2015! Undergraduate Admissions is back in the office and ready to keep reviewing applications, answering questions, and processing documents.

We have been off for almost 2 weeks, so we ask you to give us some time to start answering emails and updating MyPennState statuses upon our return.

First-year students that had complete applications by the November 30 priority filing date and have not received a decision yet (which is the vast majority of applicants) should expect their admission decision in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience!

We are also coming up on important filing date for first-year international students – February 1. We are working hard to process the documents we have received from international students prior to this priority filing date. Please continue to check your MyPennState profile for updates, but remember to allow a few weeks for the processing of all received application materials.

Additionally, any first-year students that have received an offer of admission can register for one of our Accepted Student Programs through MyPennState. We hope you consider coming to campus and learning more about your future life as a Penn Stater.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year … and we hope 2015 becomes the year you decide to attend Penn State. Sounds like a good resolution to us!

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